Seema Patel

Check out what’s new in the activity database…

I’ve recently been reading through some past blogs, keeping a keen and curious eye out for activities to add to NextBillion’s activity database…care to see what I found? Some very interesting, and of course worthwhile projects…

ZENUFA Laboratories – Tanzania

Zenufa, a pharmaceutical company, is settting up one of the first Tanzanian pharmaceutical plants complying with the WHO Current Good Manufacturing Standards. The project is being supported by BIO (Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries)

Zenufa has a long-range plan to produce more innovative drugs, not yet manufactured in Tanzania, such as ARV drugs for aids patients. Zenufa will sell most of its products in Tanzania but will also target other neighbourhood countries. In addition, this plant will improve the access to essential drugs, will help reduce prices and will offer opportunities to launch more sophisticated drugs. Zenufa will create about 150 new jobs, most of them for women.

Read more in the full activity description

The Full Belly Project
The Full Belly Project, spearheaded by Jock Brondis, an ex-Peace Corps volunteer and light and sounds engineer, is a non-profit organization that designs and delivers simple agricultural machines to people in developing countries around the world. This project teaches people how to build hand-operated machines with common materials.

The project focuses on the peanut industry; a market that feeds 500 million people, providing a great source of protein and a viable cash crop for livelihood.

To remedy the problem of the painful process of shelling peanuts by hand, a task mostly performed by women, Brondis devised the Universal Nut Sheller which works 40 times faster than shelling peanuts by hand. This coincided with the establishment of The Full Belly project spearheaded by Brondis which aims to ?to relieve hunger through appropriate agricultural technology.? The goal of the organization is to distribute these machines around the world and make peanut a number one source of protein of third world countries.

Read more in the full activity description

Ventures in Development – The Yak Project
Ventures in Development is a social enterprise that seeks to elevate the lives of the poor through growing the spirit of entrepreneurship. They currently have two main ventures in the works:? Mei Xiang Cheese Factory and The Shokay Company. The concept is to capitalize on Western China’s abundant resource – 13 million yaks.

1. Mei Xiang Cheese Factory
Mei Xiang Cheese Factory is a bottom up initiative of Tibetan farmers teaching them how to make Western style cheese. Their goal is to bring the cheese to market and help Mei Xiang Cheese Factory become a viable social enterprise in rural China.

2. The Shokay Company
The Shokay Company is a for-profit social enterprise that will bring Shokay yarn and throws to the U.S knitters market. Shokay is Tibetan for “yak down”, a high quality fiber similar in quality to cashmere. By moving towards purchasing raw fiber directly from isolated local communities in Western China, Tibetans are provided with with a steady source of income.

Read more in the full activity description

Aires de Campo
Aires de Campo? taps into an emerging base of “conscious consumers” by selling locally produced organic food products at a competitive price.

Pablo Mu?ozledo decided to build an organic store in 2001 to support local organic farmers by delivering their high quality products to the urban residents of Mexico City. Pablo found that families across the economic spectrum want healthier produce and more choices than the narrow selection available at most grocery stores.

Aires de Campo also harnesses the revenue generating potential of local biodiversity to benefit shareholders and the environment. With an expected increase in sales of nearly 1000 percent again by 2009, Aires de Campo proves that focusing on the triple bottom line is not only an ethical choice, but also an innovative business strategy for long-term growth.

Read more in the full activity description

Special Fund for SMEs in China
China has set up a special fund to support the development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The fund will offer China’s SMEs free financial aid and loan repayment subsidies of up to 2 million yuan (250,000 U.S. dollars) per project.

The Chinese Ministry of Finance said the fund aims to promote the development of SMEs, help them make technological progress, make it easier for them to cooperate with large firms and improve the overall development environment.?

Read more in the full activity description